The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 9:41 am Thursday, March 14, 2019

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By Linda Barnette

Budding trees, blooming flowers

Green grass and soft breezes,

Bright sunshine, blue skies, and gentle rains.

Storms, black skies, tornadoes,

Lightning and thunder.

Jesus on the cross suffering,

Blackness, death, tomb.

Empty tomb, bright morning,

Ascending into Heaven.

There is really no death.

As surely as the leaves and flowers fade,

They will green out and bloom again.

So also will the children of God

Live eternally.

“The Gift of Gab”

By Julie Terry Cartner

Silent tears slipping down her face, Jewel shrank back deep into the bushes until her back hit the stone wall behind her. A fifth grader at Kingston Elementary School, Jewel knew what would happen if her classmates found her. As it was, she could hear them calling “J-J-J-Jewel, come out, come out wherever you are,” making a mockery of both her and the old hide-and-go-seek game. “J-J-J-Jewel” echoed through her ears and buried sharp shards of ice into her heart. They’re never going to leave me alone, she whimpered silently to herself. I can’t help that I stutter. I’ve tried; I’ve gone to speech therapy, but nothing has helped.

Jewel had left home that morning, never knowing the sunny day would turn into a nightmare for her. Everything was fine until right before the end of the day. While the students cleared their desks, Ms. Curry, Jewel’s English teacher, had clapped her hands excitedly and told the students that one of them had won the St. Patrick’s Day writing contest and would read their essay at the assembly the next day. The winner is…Jewel! Congratulations!”

When the dismissal bell rang, Jewel bolted from her desk and ran outside, followed by the sound of mocking laughter as her classmates realized that J-J-J-Jewel would be their representative.

Just then, a voice brought Jewel out of her reverie. “Jewel, stop crying. We’re going to make this better.”

Looking down, Jewel saw a little person sitting beside her. “Who are you?” she asked, and then added, “There’s nothing you can do. Then realizing that the little person wasn’t a person at all, she stammered, “Are you a faerie? Where did you come from? Why are you here? Are you really a faerie?” The questions poured out of Jewel’s excited mouth faster and faster.

Tinkling laughter sounded as the little person said “Yes, I am. I’m Anya, and I’m here to help you. I’ve been watching you, and I don’t like the way you’ve been treated. If you were mean, that would be one thing, but you are a kindhearted person. Just last week you gave your lunch money to that little first grader who had lost his, and you always save your apple to give to the homeless man on the corner. You help your parents around the house and your teacher after school. Jewel, you’re a good person and deserve to be rewarded.”

“H-h-h-how?” Jewel stammered?

“Have you heard of the Blarney Stone?” asked Anya.

“Of course,” Jewel answered. “It’s in Ireland, in the Blarney Castle. Supposedly if you kiss the stone, you receive the gift of gab – you become a great speaker. What’s that got to do with me? We’re in America, and it’s only a legend anyway.”

Anya agreed that Jewel knew her Irish history, but was wrong on the other points. “Yes, we’re in America, but not for long. With that, Anya lifted the lower branches of a nearby bush, then grasping Jewel by the hand, slipped underneath it. Moments later, Jewel found herself in Ireland, looking up at the Blarney Castle.

“A portal?” she questioned.

Anya nodded yes as she pulled Jewel closer to the castle wall. “Now hurry, we don’t have much time. I’ve got to get you home.” With that, Anya showed Jewel the blarney stone. “Now kiss it,” she ordered.

Thinking, why not, it can’t hurt anything, Jewel lay down on her back, leaned backward in the time-honored tradition, and kissed the stone.

As she started to turn towards Anya to ask, what now, Jewel felt the air swirling, and when she opened her eyes, she was back under the bush. Looking at her watch, she realized about an hour had gone by. Her parents would be worried! Since the school grounds were now quiet, she crawled out from under the bush and headed home, all the while thinking, did that really happen?

The next day, even questioning her own sanity, Jewel pinned shamrocks to the lapel of her jacket, walked to school, and with head held high, gave her speech on Irish faeries, Anya being one of her favorites. The words slipped easily from her mouth, and never again was Jewel plagued with speech problems.

“The Tongue-Waggers”

By Stephanie Williams Dean

When my little brother, Rob, was a young boy, my mother’s sister, Aunt Sargie, nicknamed him, “Mr. Tongue.” Rob was appropriately dubbed such because he didn’t know when to keep his mouth shut. He frequently talked back to his elders, told some whoppers that weren’t true, and spoke about things he shouldn’t have.

Aunt Sargie would shake her index finger at him and say, “Ok, Mr. Tongue, you better watch out, or you’re going to discover you have hit a snag.”

If you “hit a snag,” you were usually in big trouble.

Because Rob was the youngest child and only son, he was spoiled and rarely disciplined, I took great delight whenever Aunt Sargie traveled from Chicago to Nashville to stay with my family because then Sargie ruled the roost – at least where my brother was concerned.

Sarge, as the family called her for short, was named Nellie Belle when she was born. However, she didn’t like that name at all, saying, “Every old horse is named Nellie Belle.”

As one of the oldest daughters from a family with 13 children, her oldest brother, Leon, nicknamed her Sargie because “She was always barking out orders like a sergeant in the army.”

Later as an adult, Sarge legally changed her name from Nellie Belle to just Sargie.

But, the point of this historical story is not really about my brother or Aunt Sargie. The moral of the story is about dealing with the “Mr. Tongues” in your daily lives because you don’t always have Aunt Sargies who put them in their places.

I refer to folks with long tongues as “tongue-waggers.”

They’re the people who spend much of their time talking about others without facts. They gossip about their best friends and their best friends gossip about them because they run in circles of unkindness. They enjoy sharing negative and false rumors that hurt other people. It surprises no one when tongue-waggers are overheard talking disparagingly about other people.  They have frequent “falling outs” with others and can’t get along.  They’re unkind and the ones from whom kind folks wish to distance themselves. Tongue-waggers put themselves in perilous legal positions, leaving themselves open to defamation and slander lawsuits.

Well, the tongue-waggers aren’t aware of it, but as my Aunt Sargie once said, they’ve  “hit a snag,” because everyone recognizes a tongue-wagger when they hear one – and they’re outmoded.  In many ways, the world has become kinder. The world is listening. Be kind.

“If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.”

“Haiku to Lost Photos”

By N. R. Tucker

Digital photos.

Eaten by the processor.

Tech can be rotten.